By Captain David Lifka

So far, so good … that is for the start of this summer’s fishing season on the St. Johns River. With salinity levels way up due to the very dry spring we just experienced, the expected advancement and onslaught of a variety saltwater (brackish water) species of fish has begun. 

Croaker, growing in size and numbers, have been working their way southward from Downtown Jax to Marker 18 located at Green Cove Springs. Yellowmouth trout, now referred to as “Weakfish” are beginning to become more abundant, especially in areas between the Fuller Warren Bridge and Buckman Bridge. Redfish and flounder are being caught around docks and pilings, with some reds already being caught well south of the Shands Bridge. 

As the summer progresses and the weather remains favorable (no above normal rainfall), we should be able to expect better saltwater fishing, with even more species working their way to our parts of the river. In previous summers when salinities have been high, additional types of fish such as sheepshead, mangrove snapper, snook, whiting, and even tarpon were present and being caught. Already this summer, reports of tarpon rolling as far south as Orange Park are being made. 

With summer here and the kids out of school, sometimes getting the kids out of the house and into the world is more difficult than the past. For many, air conditioning, television, and cell phones have replaced enjoying summer vacation outdoors. The many wonders of the great outdoors are being overlooked or even missed completely by today’s children.

Fishing is much more than a sport to just “catch fish.” Instead, fishing is a sport that provides opportunities to see, enjoy, and be a part of the environment around you. When fishing you cannot help but learn about the clouds in the sky, the birds in the air, the plants and trees around you, the moon and its phases, tides, sea life, animal life, species of fish, weather conditions, the sun and sunburn, and vitamin D. These attributes to fishing as well as many more, help make up and define the sport long before a knot is ever tied, a line is ever cast, and a fish is ever caught. Want to get the kids off the floor and out the door? How about giving fishing a try?

Fishing Report: Time to hit the river for croaker and yellowmouth for a nice fish fry. Creeks are good for bream; creek mouths are good for catfish. Surf is offering smaller whiting and sand trout.

Whether you catch one, some, or none, the family time spent fishing will last a lifetime.

Email your Catch of the Month photo to Be sure to include the name of the person(s) in the photo, the name of the person who took the photo, the type of fish and date and location of the catch. We will select a photo each month for publication.


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